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Tech Extension: Building a Future Model in the Out-of-School-Time Space

Session 1
Andrew Coy — Digital Harbor Foundation

Despite becoming an increasingly dominant aspect of modern society, the digital divide has persisted or even grown worse. Pathways into technology careers are too often only available to those already connected through positions of privilege.

A proposed model, the Tech Extension, is based on the success of the Ag Extension, an established model that has created opportunities for millions to learn through programs such as 4-H, Master Gardening, and hundreds of topic-specific or courses. It recognizes, however, that as we have transitioned from a predominately agricultural-based to a technology-based workforce, however, it’s time to build out a companion Tech Extension.

With a flagship example in the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center, and a current National Rec-to-Tech Design Challenge funded in part by former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, this work has the potential to expand. Talks are already in process with communities such as Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Atlanta, and the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

This session will engage the audience in actively improving upon the model and building a coalition of individuals and organizations interested in creating efforts under this umbrella. Come help build a new model, one that is housed in rec centers, libraries, & community spaces!

Conversational Practice

Live note-taking, collective brainstorming, geographic break-outs, and group ideation will all be used to ensure that the conversation is not just a presentation but is a call to action or time for community organization around this big idea for building an out-of-school-time Tech Extension in communities all across the country.

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